A Guide to Getting Started in the Netherlands

Figuring out how to do all the paperwork when moving to a new country is quite challenging. That’s why I summed up my personal experience of moving to the Netherlands to share with you in this article.

First, you need to find a place to live where you can be registered. A reason for that is that in the Netherlands you will need a Dutch citizen service number (BSN) for everything (work, opening a bank account, taking out healthcare insurance etc.). And you can only get a BSN after registering as a resident with the municipality (gemeente in Dutch). A list of the documents for registration generally includes, among other documents, the original birth certificate which needs to be legalized and translated (if the document is translated by a sworn translator registered in the Netherlands the translation does not have to be legalized as opposed to the situation when the translator is registered outside the Netherlands). You can find the Dutch register of sworn interpreters and translators (RBTV) at https://www.bureauwbtv.nl. For the full list of documents check the website of a particular municipality where you will be registering, e.g., for Amsterdam https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/civil-affairs/first-registration/. Make an appointment with the municipality to register well in advance before you arrive.

There is a very high demand for accommodation in the Netherlands. So, it can take a long time to find a place to live and register. The good news is that there are hotels where you can live and register before you find a permanent place to live. To be registered at the hotel it is generally required to live in the hotel for at least one month or more. To register at the hotel, you will need a letter from the hotel confirming that you live there. After you find a permanent place to live you can register at a new address. If you have a job in the Netherlands, you can register at the employer’s address for a maximum of 3 months (you’ll need to have a Declaration of permitted official postal address of the employer for that).

As soon as you get a BSN, apply for a DigiD (Digital Identification) at https://www.digid.nl/en/. You will need it to access governmental and other services.

Then apply for a Dutch bank card. It is also important to take enough cash with you because almost everywhere in the Netherlands only Maestro is accepted.

When you have a BSN and Dutch bank card, you can take out Dutch health insurance. You can compare prices from different insurance companies at https://www.independer.nl. For more details about taking out Dutch health insurance visit https://www.government.nl/topics/health-insurance/question-and-answer/when-do-i-need-to-take-out-health-insurance-if-i-come-to-live-in-the-netherlands. There is basic health insurance in the Netherlands, which is mandatory. Basic health insurance does not cover dental care. You can take out additional dental insurance, which is not mandatory, but it is better to have it since the prices are high in the Netherlands.

After you take out Dutch health insurance, register with a general practitioner (huisarts in Dutch). It is important to do that as soon as possible because in case you get sick it most probably will be difficult to find a nearby huisarts who is taking new patients. Doctors near to you can be found at https://www.zorgkaartnederland.nl/huisarts. To find a dentist practice to register you can use, for example, https://www.tandarts.nl. Same as for a huisarts, it is not easy to find a dentist practice which takes new patients, so register with dentist practice as soon as possible as well.

I hope now you feel equipped to move to the Netherlands and your move will go smoothly!

About the Author:

Uliana Dzerzhinskaia is a Software Tester and Swedish Institute Visby Programme Scholar (now Swedish Institute Scholarships for Global Professionals).

Get in touch or follow her on Linkedin or Instagram

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